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Blog Birding #342

Need more evidence that a native plant garden is a good investment for birds? Yushi Oguchi, writing at The AOU-COS Pubs Blog, summarizes his recent paper that explains exactly how.

We investigated whether the health status of fall frugivorous Swainson’s Thrushes and the Gray Catbirds differed depending on their use of shrublands dominated by exotic versus native plants. In the process, we came to appreciate the value of one native fruit, northern spicebush (Lindera benzoin), a fruit we couldn’t even identify at first. Our story represents a unique insight that ecophysiology can bring to conservation science and habitat management.

Can eBird be used to calculate the economic value of bird diversity to birders? Jason Crotty digs into the question at 10,000 Birds.

But the value that birders (and others) place on the environment or biodiversity is important.  The true value of a forest is more than just the dollar value of its timber.  There are also non-consumptive uses to consider, such as hiking, photography, or birding.  Although the value of timber can be readily calculated, the value of the non-consumptive uses (such as birding) is more challenging because there are no markets to provide an observable price.

Can birdwatching be used to artistically explore the relationship between an aging father and his adult daughter? A play in Boulder makes a strong case, as reported at Birdwatching Daily.

“Birds of North America,” which is being produced at the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, located just north of the University of Colorado campus, is a family drama with overtones about birds and climate change. The play’s story occurs over the course of a decade and shows the father and daughter, played by Lindsey Pierce and Chris Kendall, birding in their backyard while struggling to understand each other. “Their politics and personal views couldn’t be more different, but family bonds compel their annual migration,” according to a description of the play. “This gorgeously written family drama, full of humor and insight, explores how we connect with the people we just can’t fly away from.”

It’s sparrow season continent-wide, and Don and Lilian Stokes share some secrets to making your yard or garden attractive to these appealing winter birds.

Sparrows are migrating big time. White-throated Sparrows are coming to bird feeders across much of the country now. Somewhat less common here in NH, White-crowned Sparrows are also migrating and coming to feeders. Both these species winter across much of the country and you may have them at your bird feeders all winter. We recently had first-winter White-crowned Sparrows at our feeder amongst the many, many White-throated Sparrows.

The story of the chase is one that many birders know all too well. Arie Gilbert, writing at A Power Birder’s Blog, shares his story of chasing the New jersey greenshank.

The phone began to ring, and the texts tweeted at me about this bird found Monday. For some reason, folks presumed I would be going to look for this bird the following day. Am I that predictable? Well, …yes.

This is a code three bird; fairly regularly though rare in Alaska, but otherwise relatively unheard of here on the east coast. And Noo Joisey is much closer than Alaska.


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Nate Swick

Nate Swick

Editor, Social Media Manager at American Birding Association
Nate Swick is the editor of the American Birding Association Blog, social media manager for the ABA, and the host of the American Birding Podcast. He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Danielle, and two young children. He is the author of Birding for the Curious and The ABA Field Guide to Birds of the Carolinas.
Nate Swick

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